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Chief of German Olympic Committee Compares China and German Censorship  (View post)

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

Thursday, August 7, 2008
14 years ago3,657 views


"These rights are limited by the instructions of the general laws"

Doesn't this caveat make the constitutional statement irrelevant?

I always thought of constitutions as being a way to limit what laws can allow / disallow. By adding this limitation it basically says, "you have free speach. Unless we make a law that says you don't".

What's the value of having it in the constitution if all you need to do is pass a simple law to get around it? Puzzling.

Stefan [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

I think it's gormless to compare this nazi stuff we're suffering of to the suppression of a whole nation like in china. The IOC is wrong if they accept an infringement against freedom of speech in China.

stehsegler [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #


what you don't seem to understand is that German censorship generally extends to the following:

- anything to do with the nazi past including any symbols, writings etc.:: If you think about the reasons why it really makes sense and I believe other countries should follow the ban. I mean seriously, the nazi machinery managed to nearly wipe out and entire people. Why anyone would want to parade around or associate with that on a symbolic level even is beyond me.

- anything extreme left. This goes hand in hand with the paranoia most Germans have about any type of political extremism. Left/ right/ religious whatever. Again, the reasons are historic and can probably only be understood by someone that was born and brought up in Germany

- sexuality in combination with violence. Yes you can show porn (btw, in Germany something is considered pornographic is for example the male genitals are show in an erect angle of more than 45 degree) but you can't show porn if there is violence in it. I guess some people are into it but probably combining the one with the other can't be good for your psyche.

- You can't show glorified violence. IE. most Zombie movies in the 80s and 90s were heavily edited to comply with censorship laws. I didn't believe in it but then again there aren't too many mass shootings happening in Germany that you hear about.

Overall I think there was a bit of a case of lost in translation when the story was relayed by the American press. I can see were Michael is coming from. My guess is a lot of people were up and arms about in Germany because the German economy hugely benefits from exports to China. So the last thing they want to do is upset the Chinese officials one or two week out from the Olympics when probably more business deals will be closed than in the last 5 years combined.

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

[put at-character here]stehsegler I'm not entirely sure what your point is? From the examples you gave it seems like Germany has excessive censorship based on what the government considers 'immoral'.

Your second point seems to suggest Germany excuses China's censorship because it's in the country's economic best interest. That's probably true, but it's not a good thing.

I should point out that I grew up in Australia, and our censorship laws are nothing to boast about. Though they have stopped short of censoring Google search results.

Gary Baumgarten [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago # News Dissector Danny Schechter will talk about press restrictions surrounding the Olympics as my guest on News Talk Online on Friday August 7 at 5 PM New York time.
To talk to Schechter please go to and click on the link to the show. There is no charge.


Rich [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

"There is no censorship taking place, except when there is."

Wrong, re-read Article 5. It plainly says in paragraph (2) that rights to freedom of speech are limited. Paragraph (1) simply states that those who have the right are not censored. So you could conclude instead:

"Those who have the right to freedom of speech are not censored."

Rich [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Aptly, I've noticed in FF3.0.1 on Windows that the "Submit" button on this form only appears to work at its top edge. If you roll the mouse beyond the top edge, the button becomes inactive. How quaint!

[fixed now, thanks Rich! -Philipp]

Reto Meier [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

[put at-character here]Rich: I don't think your statement is really true. It implies that the right to free speech is restricted based on the person speaking. That's not the case, it's based on the content of the speech.

"Everyone has the right to uncensored free speech, unless saying it has been made illegal (or dangerous to 'the children')."

In which case Philips sentance is pretty close to the mark.

Stefan K [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

It's really interesting that you open that topic, as it seems to be a taboo to question the censorship of neonazi ideas in Germany. Most Germans believe that it is necessary to do so, but why? Are neonazi ideas that convincing that we need to ban them? Why is it necessary to have a special rule for nazi ideas and nazi symbols? Why can't we simply ban calls for violence and allow everything else? I guess, this ongoing talk about censorship in Germany is harming the countries image in the world much more than some nazi sites in german would do. And somebody who's into nazi ideas – he get's his information anyway!

T [PersonRank 2]

14 years ago #

In China there is no right and wrong, there is what laws exists and what don't
this does not mean at all there is a harsh law and strict enforcement as in 1984 or such, it means that usually the law doesn't get you unless someone really want to get you. and if they really want to get you, the laws provide a "reasonable" reason. but, in the end, if they really wanted to get you badly, there's always enough excuse (many laws such as the crime of trying to overthrow the government are defined with enough vagueness)

it's like everyone in china complains about the government in taxis, in dinning rooms, and such, but it does not pose a threat to it, so there is no big harm.
if you are able to know how to use a proxy, you are intellect enough to know any information, and there always been a small percent people who know more truth than others, and this neither poses a threat to the government.
as long as the main pages of sohu,sina,etc do not show anti-government speech, half-obscene headlines such as "so and so is exposed naked accidentally at some occasion", "1x year girl raped by classmates", etc can be hidden deep in the headlines.

in china, the government does care about the people(or else it would be already overthrown), but because there is no pressure from ballots, it isn't really too eager. but for one thing for sure, it is sensitive to real threats to itself, and is merciless for punishment.

so in the end, everyone gets used to the government, we complain, and somethings get solved, and the government highly congratulates itself for these things, and in the end, we think, well, it's not too bad, and life goes on.

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